Rights holder: New recruits boost Seven’s 2020 AFL team

• Home of FTA AFL secures star recruits Luke Hodge, Jobe Watson

• Meet all 29 members of the extended Seven AFL family

Seven’s AFL team returns in 2020 with an even more star-studded commentary line-up after snaring recently retired superstars Luke Hodge and Jobe Watson in the off-season’s biggest recruiting coup, and welcomes back AFLW icon Daisy Pearce following a year away from the game.

The fan favourites who have long made Seven the Home of Footy all return in 2020, including commentators Bruce McAvaney, Brian Taylor, James Brayshaw, Hamish McLachlan, Luke Darcy and Basil Zempilas.

Expert commentators Wayne Carey, Leigh Matthews, Matthew Richardson, Tim Watson, Cameron Ling and Jimmy Bartel are also back, while Gilbert McAdam, Abbey Holmes, Jude Bolton, Xavier Ellis, Mark Soderstrom, Jason Bennett, Nigel Carmody and Campbell Brown round out Seven’s team.

Triple Hawthorn premiership skipper Hodge will share his insights on the modern game as an expert commentator on Seven’s Friday Night Football coverage, where he will be joined by Melbourne skipper Pearce, who returns as a field commentator following the birth of her twins Sylvie and Roy last year.

Long-time Essendon captain Watson will bring all the experience he gleaned over a 220-game career into an expert comments role, working principally in the game’s newest marquee timeslot, Thursday night.

For Australia’s pre-eminent sports broadcaster McAvaney, the upcoming season promises to be as fiercely contested as any he’s seen.

“March is a magic time. On the precipice of an AFL season. All those thrillers and upsets await us. I can’t remember a more even competition, with nearly every team having finals aspirations and more than a handful with legitimate premiership chances,” McAvaney said.

“And the prospects of the stars – the players – ranging from Shaun Burgoyne who plays his 377th game in round one to Marlion Pickett, who plays his second. Just who will win the battle between Martin, Fyfe and Dangerfield? Etcetera.”

Managing director Seven Melbourne and head of network sport Lewis Martin commented:

“A love of the game drives everything we do at Seven. From our incomparable admin, production and technical staff, to our commentary team led by the one and only Bruce McAvaney and Brian Taylor, we have one overriding goal – to make each and every viewer a part of the game. It’s what’s made Seven the Home of Footy for so long and it’s what will ensure Seven remains the only place to watch the football in 2020.”

Brendon Goddard is another big-name signing for Seven this season, with the former St Kilda and Essendon star joining a revamped Game Day line-up on Sunday mornings that includes host Hamish McLachlan, Leigh Matthews and Daisy Pearce.

Abbey Way has quickly become one of Seven’s most versatile hosts and this year she joins the footy team on The Kick, the pre-game show that kick-starts Saturday Night Footy.

Happy hour has also been extended at The Front Bar in 2020 with star funnyman and Carlton diehard Andy Lee joining Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Andy Maher to share a laugh about the week in footy and catch up with stars of yesteryear and today.

Iconic AFL chat show Talking Footy will again be a fixture on Monday nights, when host Luke Darcy, Wayne Carey and Tim Watson debate all the game’s burning issues, while Tom Browne and Jacqui Felgate keep viewers up to date with the latest breaking news.

And Adam Cooney and Cam Luke will settle in on the sofa once more, offering viewers their unique take on the match of the round as Armchair Experts returns to 7plus.

Seven’s AFL coverage in 2020 will also feature:

AFLW – the remaining home and away rounds and all three weeks of the finals on Seven and 7plus
Thursday Night Football – nine games, up from eight in 2019
Live matches Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday
2020 AFL Grand Final exclusively

Fans in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia can again watch every game involving teams from their home states.

Seven’s guide to its Football Team

BRUCE McAVANEY
Host and Commentator

When it comes to sports broadcasting in Australia, Bruce has no equal. In recognition of his outstanding career, Bruce was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002, and in the same year was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, while in March 2020 he was honoured with the Melbourne Press Club Lifetime Achievement Award. His depth and breadth of sporting knowledge is boundless, while he brings his unbridled passion for AFL to Friday Night Football and other marquee matches.

BRIAN TAYLOR
Commentator

One of footy’s most respected and entertaining callers, Brian has formed a formidable partnership with Bruce McAvaney on Friday Night Football and other blockbuster matches since 2017, as well as leading Seven’s Sunday Football coverage. One of his generation’s best full-forwards, ‘BT’ kicked 527 goals over 140 games with Richmond and Collingwood, winning the Coleman Medal in 1986 with a season tally of 100 goals.

Social – Twitter: @BTBrianTaylor; Instagram: @bt_briantaylor

LUKE HODGE
Expert Comments

The long-time Hawthorn skipper established himself as one of great modern leaders in Australian sport over a highly decorated career that included 346 games (305 at the Hawks and 41 at Brisbane), four premierships, three All-Australian selections and two Norm Smith Medals.

After hanging up his boots at the end of the 2019 season, Luke joins Seven’s Friday Night Football team, where he will share his rare understanding of the modern game as an expert commentator.

Social – Twitter: @LHodge15; Instagram: @hodgey015

WAYNE CAREY
Expert Comments

Arguably the greatest player of all time, the two-time North Melbourne premiership captain will again deliver his keen insights and fearless opinions on Friday Night Football and Talking Footy. Over a glittering 272-game career that netted 727 goals, Wayne’s accolades included seven All-Australian selections, four best and fairests and two AFLPA MVP awards.

Social – Twitter: @waynecarey27

DAISY PEARCE
Expert Comments and Field Commentator

One of the foundation superstars of the AFLW, Daisy has returned to the field and the commentary box in 2020 after giving birth to twins Sylvie and Roy last February. The Melbourne captain is covering the AFLW season as an expert commentator, and once her 2020 playing commitments are over will join Seven’s AFL coverage on Friday nights as a field commentator.

Social – Twitter: @DaisyPearce6; Instagram: @daisypearce6

JOBE WATSON
Expert Comments

The former Essendon skipper enjoyed a stellar career as an inside midfielder, winning three best and fairest awards, the AFLPA’s best captain award in 2012 and two All-Australian selections. Jobe impressed in a guest commentary stint with Seven late last season and returns in a more permanent role in 2020, when he’ll be part of the Thursday Night Football team.

Social – Twitter: @JobeWatson; Instagram: @jobetwatson

MATTHEW RICHARDSON
Expert Comments

The Richmond great and crowd favourite will again be a key member of Seven’s AFL coverage and in 2020 will feature prominently in football’s newest marquee timeslot, Thursday nights, along with Saturday nights. He’ll also continue to part of all the Saturday pre-game fun on The Kick. One of Tasmania’s favourite sons, ‘Richo’ amassed 800 goals in an acclaimed playing career, and remains the all-time leading goalkicker at the MCG with 464.

Social – Twitter and Instagram: @mattricho0

LUKE DARCY
Commentator

The highly respected former Bulldogs star is regarded as one of the best ruck-forwards of the modern era. A winner of the Leigh Matthews Trophy as the AFL Player’s Association’s MVP, the father of four has carved out a burgeoning career as a radio and TV personality, and will again call Saturday Night Footy on Seven in 2020, and host Talking Footy.

GILBERT McADAM
Field Commentator

Gilbert became the first Indigenous player to win the SANFL’s coveted Magarey Medal in 1989 before bringing his sublime talents to the AFL, where he played 111 games with St Kilda and Brisbane. A breath of fresh air since joining Seven as a field commentator, viewers have quickly warmed to Gilbert’s down-to-earth manner and engaging delivery.

CAMERON LING
Expert Comments

Cameron was one of the AFL’s elite taggers over a decorated 12-season career with Geelong that included the 2007, 2009 and 2011 flags – the latter as skipper – the Cats’ 2004 best and fairest award and All-Australian selection in 2007. Since 2012 ‘Lingy’ has been an integral member of Seven’s AFL coverage, delivering sharp insights on expert comments and as a boundary rider.

Social – Twitter: @CameronLing

TIM WATSON
Expert Comments

Tim is truly one of the game’s greats. Inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2000, he played in three premierships with Essendon and was one of the League’s most skillful and explosive midfielders during the 1980s. An articulate and insightful observer of the game, Tim also presents sport for 7NEWS Melbourne each weeknight, and is a panellist on Talking Footy.

Social – Twitter: @timwatson32; Instagram: @timwatson7

LEIGH MATTHEWS
Expert Comments

One of the Australian Football Hall of Fame’s select group of Legends, Leigh won a combined eight premierships as a player and coach, captained Hawthorn and Victoria, and won a record eight best and fairest awards with the Hawks. When Leigh speaks, in his forthright and pragmatic manner, he sets the footy agenda.

Social – Twitter: @LeighRMatthews

HAMISH McLACHLAN
Host and Commentator

Hamish is one of Seven’s most versatile broadcasters, having hosted and commentated on a wide range of sports including the AFL, horse racing, the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. He has hosted Game Day since 2008 and this season will again host Friday Night Countdown, while his half-time interviews with the NAB AFL Auskicker of the Week have become viewer favourites. An accurate and entertaining play-by-play commentator, Hamish will call for Seven on Thursday nights and Sundays.

JAMES BRAYSHAW
Commentator

Following a distinguished first-class cricket career that saw him average 42.53 runs across 75 matches as a top-order batsman, James has become one of the most respected hosts and commentators in Australian sport. He will again bring his upbeat style to the AFL commentary team on Thursday nights and Saturday Night Football.

Social – Instagram: @jamesbrayshaw

ABBEY HOLMES
Field Commentator

A late convert to football after a promising netball career, Abbey led the Northern Territory Football League’s goalkicking table and won a premiership in each of her first four seasons, memorably becoming the first woman to kick 100 goals in a season in 2013-14. A premiership player with Adelaide in the AFLW’s inaugural 2017 season, Abbey has been a great addition to Seven’s AFLW and AFL coverage in recent years, both as an expert and field commentator.

Social – Twitter and Instagram: @abbeycholmes

ABBEY WAY
Host – The Kick

Abbey has presented across Seven’s cricket, racing and Brownlow Medal coverage with poise, grace and an infectious enthusiasm. As the granddaughter of Australian middle-distance great Herb Elliott, sport is in Abbey’s blood. She hosted the opening match of Seven’s 2020 AFLW coverage, and will step into the host’s chair for The Kick this season.

Social – Twitter: @abbey_gelmi; Instagram: abbey_way

JIMMY BARTEL
Field Commentator

The 2007 Brownlow medallist continues on Seven as a field commentator, where his knowledge and keen understanding of the modern game shines through. One of the biggest stars of the Geelong golden era that netted the 2007, 2009 and 2011 flags, Bartel won the 2011 Norm Smith Medal and invariably rose to the occasion in finals and other big games.

Social – Instagram: @jrb03

BRENDON GODDARD
Game Day – Panellist

Brendon enjoyed an outstanding 334-game career with St Kilda and Essendon, playing an instrumental role in the Saints’ Grand Final teams of 2009-10 and as a senior player in inexperienced Bomber sides. The dual All-Australian joins Game Day this season as a regular panellist, where viewers can look forward to him voicing forthright opinions regardless of whose feathers he ruffles.

Social – Twitter: @BrendonGoddard9; Instagram: @ brendon_goddard

BASIL ZEMPILAS
Commentator

Basil is an acclaimed TV host, reporter and commentator, having covered AFL in Perth for more than 20 years, as well as calling at six Olympic Games. Basil will again be a valued member of Seven’s commentary team in 2020 as a caller who strikes the perfect balance between accuracy, passion and fun.

Social – Twitter: @BasilZempilas; Instagram: @basil_zempilas

JUDE BOLTON
Field Commentator

The dual Swans premiership hero takes on a field commentary role again on Seven’s AFL team, primarily at games in Sydney. Known for his undying determination and brutal attack on the football over a 325-game career, Jude still shares the AFL record for the most tackles ever in a single game with 19, and is a member of the Sydney Swans Hall of Fame.

Social – Twitter: @Jude_Bolton; Instagram: jude_bolton

XAVIER ELLIS
Field Commentator

A premiership player with Hawthorn in 2008 and a member of West Coast’s 2015 Grand Final team, Xavier will again report for Seven from the boundary at AFL matches in Perth. The No.3 pick in the 2005 NAB AFL Draft, Xavier played 120 games from 2007-2016.

Social – Twitter: @XaviEllis18; Instagram: xavierellis18

MARK SODERSTROM
Field Commentator

Mark played 121 SANFL games for North Adelaide, Glenelg and Sturt. A 7NEWS sports presenter in Adelaide, Mark returns as a field commentator in Seven’s 2020 AFL coverage.

Social – Twitter: @Mark_Soda

JASON BENNETT
Commentator

The award-winning sports broadcaster was an AFL commentator from 2002-2006 before embarking on an international posting with ESPN and its popular program Aussies Abroad. Jason has been back calling footy on Seven since 2015, covering a mix of AFL, AFLW and VFL matches.

Social – Twitter: @JasonBennettTV; Instagram: jasonbennetttv

NIGEL CARMODY
Commentator

After a decorated VFL career that spanned 12 seasons with Casey Scorpions and Collingwood, Nigel has been part of Seven’s commentary team since 2015, working on AFL, AFLW and VFL matches.

Social – Twitter: @NigelCarmody; Instagram: @nigelcarmody

CAMPBELL BROWN
Field Commentator

An All-Australian in 2007 and Hawthorn premiership player in 2008, Campbell was a ferocious competitor who attacked the contest fearlessly. His love of the game and engaging personality shines through in his field commentary on Seven’s VFL coverage, while he regularly explores the lighter side of the game on The Kick.  

Social – Twitter: @Browndogg_30x; Instagram: @browndog_30x

JACQUI FELGATE
Footy Central and Talking Footy

An accomplished presenter and reporter, Jacqui will deliver the latest breaking news for fans in Footy Central and Talking Footy. Jacqui also presents 7NEWS Melbourne’s weekend sports bulletins.

Social – Twitter: @Jacquifelgate; Instagram: @jacquifelgate7

TOM BROWNE
Talking Footy

An award-winning news-breaker, Tom will work across 7NEWS, Seven’s AFL broadcast and 7NEWS.com.au, while breaking the big stories and discussing the game’s burning issues on Talking Footy.

Social – Twitter: @TomBrowne7; Instagram: @tbrowne01

ADAM COONEY
Armchair Experts

The 2008 Brownlow medallist has always been one of the game’s great characters and he’s given free rein to let his personality shine and have a laugh at the lighter side of the game on Armchair Experts.

Social – Twitter: @Adamcooney17; Instagram: @adamcooney17

CAM LUKE
Armchair Experts

Cam is a long-time sports presenter who will again take his spot on the Armchair Experts sofa alongside regular sparring partner Adam Cooney to chat about all the hot topics that come out of the match of the round.

Social – Twitter: @camluke; Instagram: @camjluke

Top Photo: Seven’s Luke Hodge, Bruce McAvaney, Brian Taylor and Daisy Pearce

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